International Studies & Programs

The Scholars

Every year, The MasterCard Foundation Scholars program welcomes new undergraduates and graduates from sub-Saharan Africa to Michigan State University's campus. These Scholars have demonstrated academic talent and have a personal commitment to give back to their countries.

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David Rakojoana Cohort: 2016
Country: Lesotho
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Actuarial Science
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: Before coming to Michigan State University, Deiv (as he prefers to be called) initiated several youth-centered programs, partnering with Peace Corps Lesotho and Anti-Drug Abuse Association Lesotho. He also worked as a volunteer Maths and Accounting teacher in one of the high schools in Mafeteng, Lesotho, and tutored for several students from home. Deiv's two growing foundations- Dress The Orphans Foundation and Lesotho Abroad Education Network- are centered around young Basotho, with the former focusing on soliciting clothes to redistribute to the extremely needy orphans and children, and the latter focusing on helping Basotho learn about "hidden" scholarship opportunities. The motivation behind the start-up of these foundations has been nothing short of determination instilled in him by struggles he faced growing up in the rural village of Matelile, Ha-Seeiso, and the financial assistance he got from a Peace Corp volunteer when he could not have gotten high school education had she not come to his rescue.

Astley Siwela Cohort: 2016
Country: Zimbabwe
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Economics
College: College of Social Science

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Biography: Astley is an undergraduate student majoring in Economics. Prior to Michigan State he was involved in a vast array of community engagement activities which included feeding homeless children in his home town of Bulawayo. He also co-founded a social enterprise aimed at educating children born to young teenage parents in the township who exercised poor birth control and could not afford to send their children to school. Astley hopes to spur the economic and political transcendence of Africa through activism and to promote entrepreneurship through creating Africa's own Silicon Valley. He intends to continue serving his community and improve the lives of his fellow countrymen in Zimbabwe through volunteerism.

Phoebe Tuyishime Cohort: 2016
Country: Rwanda
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Nursing
College: College of Nursing

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Biography: Phoebe is an undergraduate studying nursing.

Irene Yayishimiye Cohort: 2016
Country: Rwanda
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Computer Engineering
College: College of Engineering

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Biography: Irene Yayishimiye is an undergraduate student majoring in Computer Engineering. She graduated her high school from Lycée de Kigali, where she focused on Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science. She worked with several groups and clubs during her high school years, including Red Cross where she was Club Leader. Outside of school, she is focusing on activities that will prepare her for a career in Information Communication Technologies. She also leads the Mozilla Rwanda Community translation team, where she works as a mobilizer and translator. Last year, she worked with a local health care center to help new mothers understand nutrition planning. She also worked with HVP GATAGARA, a school helping children with visual impairments to sensitize girls and teach physically handicapped children how to overcome physical limitations through playing sports.

Leonard Mukosi Cohort: 2016
Country: Zimbabwe
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: International Law
College: College of Law

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Biography: Leonard Mukosi is a graduate student pursuing a Masters in Law degree. He graduated from Rhodes University, South Africa with Bachelor of Social Sciences (2013) and Bachelor of Laws /LLB (2015) degree. Studying law at different foreign institutions country has broadened his outlook on life and has given him an extended appreciation of different legal systems. Looking at legal problems globally from a comparative perspective, Leonard came to the realization that the struggle for Human rights is still very critical especially in Africa. This has ultimately shaped his passion for International Human Rights Law which is currently his main area of interest. Human rights have grown to become a life passion for him such that by the time he completed undergraduate studies, Leonard had already began the preliminaries into launching a career that he believes will place him very much in the driving seat of rethinking and redefining human rights especially in an African context where the problem of gross human rights violations is yet to be tackled. This involved writing papers uncovering the magnitude of Human right violations like Xenophobia in South Africa as well as giving free legal advice to people with human right cases. His contribution and influence in the Human Rights field will not be limited within the confines of his own country but shall extend beyond the African continent to benefit all humanity through catapulting an awareness of the need for an effective observance of Human Rights across the whole world.

Hazel Moyo Cohort: 2016
Country: Zimbabwe
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Human Development & Family Studies
College: College of Social Science

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Biography: Hazel Moyo is a graduate student majoring in Human Development and Family Studies. Before she came to MSU, Hazel was involved in relief teaching in the remote parts of her country, partook in health expos to raise awareness of healthy living,and was engaged in several benevolent altruistic activities, to increase the wellbeing of the people around her. Hazel hopes to bring positive change in all the facets of society, by helping people expand their capabilities and enlarge their choices, so that they can lead long healthy lives. In addition to her passion for positive development Hazel hopes to help eradicate social inequalities so that every person the world over may lead a decent life.

Robert Tuke Cohort: 2016
Country: Uganda
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Epidemiology & Biostatistics
College: College of Human Medicine

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Biography: Robert Tuke is a graduate student majoring in MS Epidemiology at Michigan State University. Before MSU, Robert graduated from Makerere University College of Health Sciences(MakHCS) with a Bachelors of Medicine and Surgery. Served as President of MakHCS Surgery club and Secretary of Health in Nkrumah student hall while at Makerere university. Later, he worked at Global Health Uganda and Kampala Hospital as a medical officer. At Global health Uganda, he was a research assistant in a number of pediatric researches/clinical trials and in addition, he attended to very ill children at both the Mulago National Referral Hospital Pediatric ICU and emergency room. He also served at the Uganda Cancer Institute briefly. Robert has strong interests in the area of preventive medicine.

Kevin Affoukou Cohort: 2016
Country: Benin
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Agriculture, Food, and Resource Economics
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Kevin (Thierry) Affoukou is a graduate student majoring in agricultural economics with emphasize in agribusiness management. Over the last 6 years, he held a position as Assistant researcher where he participated in implementing several regional projects, coordinate consultations for many companies like Root Capital and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture and contributed publishing papers addressed issues relating to innovation and gender in food security. Kevin is interested to deeply understand how agribusiness plants add value on raw agricultural products and how theses activities impact employers especially women in terms of decision power in household, access to health services, improvement of children education and social status .

Nicolas Umuhizi Cohort: 2016
Country: Rwanda
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: MBA
College: College of Business

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Biography: Nicolas Umuhizi Nsabimana is pursuing a Master’s degree in Business Administration at Michigan State University (MSU) and holds a Bachelor's degree in Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness from The National University of Rwanda. Before joining MSU, Nicolas has worked on various development projects in Rwanda. This work has included helping seed growers to improve their business, raising awareness of the importance of nutrition, implementing income generating projects for subsistence families and most recently promoting social entrepreneurship amongst smallholder farmers. Nicolas is pro social justice and he sees entrepreneurship as a major component of sustainable development. During his spare time, he enjoys playing Underwater Hockey and soccer, hiking and traveling.

Trhas Weldezghi Cohort: 2016
Country: Eritrea
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Agriculture, Food, and Resource Economics
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Trhas is a graduate student at MSU, majoring in Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics. After completing her undergraduate studies, she worked as a Graduate Assistant in an agricultural college, located in rural areas of her country and with an invaluable opportunity to explore and assess the problems and difficulties of the rural communities. The graduate study in Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics will definitely be an impetus to address the pressing challenging of today’s world: food insecurity, Poverty, natural resource degradation. Trhas hopes to play a big role towards solving pressing problems in the agricultural sector and transforming it to modern and sustainable one.

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